As I woke up the day after the 2016 legislative session ended, only to find our state legislature was unable to pass transportation and bonding bill, my first response was "why do we in Minnesota put up with a total lack of accountability and inefficiency from our elected officials?" Then, less than two weeks later, the governor pocket-vetoed the omnibus tax bill. If we were in the private sector, and we were not able to get our work accomplished, or be civil to our fellow employees, or take responsibility for our actions, we would be shown the door and not asked to come back. Why has making decisions for the best interest of Americans, or Minnesotans, or residents of Northfield become so difficult? We deserve better!
Who pays the price for this complete and utter nonsense? Why it's the residents of Northfield, the citizens of Minnesota and the business community that has to operate under these conditions. If this legislative session seems all too familiar; you only have to look at last year to see the same show. In 2015, the legislature left 900 million dollars on the table because they could not craft a transportation and tax bill that both parties and governor could COMPROMISE on and pass. The legislators' response to the public was "we will take care of it in 2016". One year later, at the end of this session, and we have no transportation bill, bonding bill and the governor has just vetoed the tax bill. All we have is finger pointing, sparring over who is to blame for the business left undone, and the hostage holding tactics of a special session. My mother told me on numerous occasions that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Well guess what, we've reached insanity!
As the governor huddles with top legislative leaders in an effort to strike an agreement that would salvage unfinished business from this year's fractious legislative session, my initial response is to say "hell no." Why should I give you more time to do the work you were not capable in doing in the first place? It's ridiculous that our political leaders still can't figure out what they are doing. A special session amounts to nothing more than political cover, leads to backroom leads by leadership that is forced down the throats of legislators who have little or no time to look and study the bills before voting on them.
But who suffers at the end? It's the people of Minnesota. The bonding bill and transportation bill are huge public works job creation bills that improve our infrastructure and create high paying jobs. The tax bill was a far-ranging measure of tax cuts and credits for parents, farmers, college students and small businesses. It was a bill that passed with broad bipartisan support of nearly 90% of legislators. A bill that nobody got all they wanted, but compromised in order to get it passed. Only to be vetoed by the governor and held hostage to get what he wants. Really?
My suggestion is that if you really need a special session, that the leadership of the House and Senate resign and be replaced before the special session. These four gentlemen have done a great disservice to their fellow legislators and the people of Minnesota. They were ineffective last session, and continued on their ways in 2016. After attending Sessions Priorities Dinner the first day of session, and watching their interaction with one another, one could guarantee the session would end the way it did. Their leadership skills are non-existent, and continue to leave the other legislators out in the dark. It is time to find others to take on the leadership tasks. Perhaps utilize the skills of some outstanding female legislators currently in office. Also, members of the legislature, since I paid you to not get accomplished all your work during the session, I am not going to pay you more money for the special session. Get your work done the first time, on time!
Whatever happens with this legislative session, we need to become more engaged this election year, and ask our candidates how they are going to change their style and interaction with one another. What are they willing to compromise on? How will they put the interests of all Minnesotans first over their political party's interests or their pet projects or special interest groups. No change = continued insanity. Is that what we really want?